Diversity is beautiful, like a Bond girl. Imagine if you’re social network was comprised only of a) Americans, or b) Persians, or c) Indians. We love all three groups but if you spent all your time hanging out with one of them you’d soon find yourself a) wearing baggy pants and putting on a few extra pounds, or b) dressing in black, wearing slicked-back hair and showering yourself with Armani perfume , or c) wobbling your head when answering a question and singing lines from Aamir Khan’s Lagaan.
Nothing wrong with any of the above but when it comes to friends, having a mixed group makes life so much more interesting. Who wouldn’t want to sit at a dinner table with the following people: an American ER doctor; Dutch starving artist; English waiter; Indian columnist; French aid worker; Japanese graphic designer; Lebanese private banker; Swiss filmmaker; Austrian ski instructor; Kenyan violinist. It’s an interesting table whichever way you switch around the nationalities and vocations.
Bankers absolute cherish the whole diversity phenomenon. After all, one of their chief efforts on the social, self-marketing front is convincing just about everyone that not only are they superhuman financiers but that, despite the rigors of the job, they still maintain a healthy work-life balance and are quite cultured as can be demonstrated by their friends. Consequently a banker will jump at the occasion to show off ‘special’ friends to other fellow bankers.
Banker’s phone rings. He answers.
Banker: “Hi John.”
John (another banker): “Hi Banker, how are you?”
Banker: “Not bad, I’m just having coffee with Kesha. He’s a Mongolian art dealer.”
Banker: (Smiling to himself.) “Yeah. Mongolia art dealer.”
John: “Sweet! I need to add an art dealer to my circle.”
A banker is intelligent enough to know that it’s very convenient to only hang out with like-minded, bonus-starved felines. So he or she will go the extra mile to show the world how mixed his social circle actually is.
There are two main reasons why a banker embraces diversity and the first one was implied above: give off the image of being one whose curiosity can only be tickled by variety.
The second, much more important, reason is predicated on psychology, in general, and the belief that happiness is relative, in particular. The idea is that happiness partly depends on your surroundings and environment. For instance, you tend to feel happy being surrounded by people who can enjoy the same things you can. Similarly, if you are someone who works very hard only to make ends meet then you may not be as comfortable hanging out with trust fund millionaires who never break a sweat but live a life of ultra luxury.
So the logic is that by chilling with people within your category then you’ll be at ease and generally happy.
But bankers are complicated people. General happiness won’t suffice. They like structured happiness just as they like structured products.
The answer is diversity.
Accordingly, bankers welcome the prospects of sharing a drink or meal with their buddy the sculptor, writer, aid worker or personal trainer. Why? Because they earn more money.
This is one of the first lessons you’re taught during graduate training: make friends with people who earn less so you can be happy about your job and realise that it is in fact a blessing it was offered to you in the first place.